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Ko - production in Busan
  • KANG Hae-jung, Producer of MISBEHAVIOR
  • by KIM Hyung-seok /  Jan 24, 2017
  • “What really interests me is which story to make with whom”

    Filmmaker R & K, a film production established by director RYOO Seung-wan and producer KANG Hae-jung, who is RYOO’s wife, has already lasted as long as 10 years now. This company has mostly produced masculine action films by RYOO so far, but this year, it will expand its scope with MISBEHAVIOR, a woman film by KIM Tae-yong. KoBiz had an interview with KANG who is making a small yet meaningful change. 

    What made you work with KIM Tae-yong? 

    KIM Jung-min at Filmmaker R & K, who is also the president of Film K, has recommended him so I've kept an eye on him for a while. Then one day I’ve been asked by Dunhill to produce a short film under the theme of 'Gentleman Attitude’. I asked KIM to direct the film, and that's how One Summer Night (2013) came to be made, which then led to production of MISBEHAVIOR

    What are his stronger assets? 

    He has the power to represent his own world. He also strongly focuses on the story that he wants to tell. 

    MISBEHAVIOR is very much different from other films at Filmmaker R & K. What made you decide to produce this film?  

    First of all, I had great faith in KIM. I was excited to match KIM with MISBEHAVIOR, a film on women, and I could almost feel the good vibes! This is how I felt right from the beginning, even before the scenario was completed. 

    MISBEHAVIOR approaches the subject on two different levels, the first one being the social issue (or class issue) and the second one the emotional issue (like jealousy and low self-estimation, inferiority complex). Which one did you find more exciting as a producer?  

    I found the social issue more exciting, but the emotional issue was very interesting too, as it is something that KIM treats very well. 
    What are the elements that you’ve found the most important during pre-production and production of MISBEHAVIOR? And what have been the hardest ones? 

    The budget was kind of overwhelming, because it is a much more expensive movie compared to his previous work Set Me Free (2014). And I thought it was important to find efficient ways for KIM to work with a star actress KIM Ha-neul. I was impressed by how well he directed the actors in Set Me Free, and we talked a lot about how to direct them in MISBEHAVIOR as well. 

    Are there any aspect of MISBEHAVIOR that you especially like as a female producer? 

    The feelings that Hyo-ju (KIM Ha-neul) has for Hae-young (YOO In-young), who is deemed a socially inferior, or a second-class citizen if you will, because she’s a single woman part-time worker. And also the moments when their inferior complexes erupt. 

    Films by Filmmaker R & K have mostly been action genre films. MISBEHAVIOR may well expand the scope of your filmography. As a producer, what are the biggest benefits that this film could bring? 

    Possibility in itself. However, I am not expanding the scope just for the sake of doing it. What really interests me is to ask myself which story I would like to make and with whom. And that’s what I always do.  
    Filmmaker R & K has now been active for 10 years already. What are your feelings when you look back on it?  

    A lot of different feelings. Even before I started Filmmaker R & K, I knew that running a film production company wouldn’t be easy. But I would have never expected it to be this hard. I was so naive when I first made it. Now, I think I’ve learned how to endure things, but it is still hard. However, these hardships make it all the more fun, because it means it’s also very dynamic and exciting.

    What would you say RYOO has been going through for the last 10 years? What would you say are some of his pivotal movies? 

    As RYOO grows up as a person, so does his cinema. It is a great pleasure and honor for me, as a partner and spouse, to share all these moments and to create something together. As far as I am concerned, I would say the most important films are Die Bad (2000), which is the very beginning of his career, and The Unjust (2010), which came out in 10 years since his debut. I am not sure how he feels, though.  

    RYOO's Battleship Island is to be released shortly, and it is a blockbuster with USD 21 million budget. What does this film mean to Filmmaker R & K?  

    I would say this film has created a totally new narrative in Korean cinema. Box office performance is of course important for a film producer, but that’s not all. With this film, we’ve taken up a great challenge and faced many risks. It is definitely a movie that will be hard to ever make again. I wish it can become a memorable movie in Korean film history.
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